Utica College One of First Colleges in US to Earn Endorsements from Multiple Government Agencies for Excellence in Cybersecurity Education

Utica College Designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by National Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security; and National Center for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence by DOD Defense Cyber Crime Center

PR Newswire

UTICA, N.Y., June 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Utica College has been designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security. This prestigious five-year designation puts Utica College in the elite ranks of colleges and universities with cybersecurity curricula, faculty and facilities that meet or exceed very stringent national criteria.

In addition, Utica College is only the seventh institution of higher learning in the country to earn a National Center for Digital Forensics Academic Excellence (CDFAE) from the Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3), a U.S. Department of Defense agency.

Joseph Giordano, professor of practice and chair of cybersecurity programs at Utica College, believes Utica College is the first college in the country to hold both of these prestigious government designations at this level. (See video clip here.)

"These designations represent the gold standard for institutions of higher education," said Todd S. Hutton, president of Utica College. "These government agencies have very carefully reviewed our courses, programs, department, research centers and institution. This is well-deserved national recognition for our cybersecurity programs and faculty."

In support of the president's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the CAE program's goal is to reduce the vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education to produce a growing number of professionals with cybersecurity expertise for the nation.

CDFAE seeks to develop partnerships between academia and government to establish standards for digital forensics practitioners, educators and researchers in order to advance the discipline of digital forensics and increase the number of qualified professionals in law enforcement, counterintelligence and national defense.

With cyber attacks flooding individuals, corporations and government entities, the need for highly-educated experts trained to identify, protect and prevent such attacks is growing by the second. These designations allow Utica College to work in concert with the government agencies to advance the discipline of cybersecurity and digital forensics and increase the number of qualified professionals in government, law enforcement, counterintelligence, national defense, business and industry.

As part of the program, Utica College will be assigned a Security Education Academic Liaison (SEAL) from the NSA who will work closely with both organizations to maximize the collaboration in areas such as academics, research and development. According to the NSA, "Of particular interest to both [organizations] is the identification of outstanding students for future government employment."

Information assurance jobs currently rank number 11 on the U.S. News Top 100 Best Jobs. The field currently has a less than one percent unemployment rate and the average salary for a field professional in metropolitan New York is about $118,000.

As a pioneer in economic crime and cyber programs, Utica College is home to the Economic Crime and Cybersecurity Institute (ECCI), the Northeast Cyber Forensic Center (NCFC), and the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP), which has garnered national attention for its landmark study of perpetrators of ID theft.

"As technology advances at an exponential rate, the need for cybersecurity education in New York State has never been a more critical component to our future," said New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. "We must have highly-educated and skilled experts trained to identify, protect and prevent potential cyber-attacks on individuals, government entities and corporations. We are committed to protecting our state's critical infrastructure and ensuring all New Yorkers have a secure environment to work and do business. Utica's dedication to the cybersecurity field is another step forward in our continued efforts to protect our state and its residents. I extend my congratulations to Utica College for its designations of Excellence in Cybersecurity Education."

"Today is a great day for Utica College and its nationally-renowned cybersecurity program. For years, Utica College has been committed to delivering one of the best cybersecurity educations, and today's certifications by the federal government are a well-deserved gold seal of approval," said Senator Charles Schumer. "Utica College's recognition from the National Security Agency and the Department of Defense will ensure it remains a top-notch program that attracts national talent, while educating exceptional graduates."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Cyber attacks are an ever-growing threat to American businesses and government agencies. That is why it is so important for us to invest in recruiting the best and brightest to strengthen our nation's cyber defenses.  Encouraging and supporting partnerships between the government and universities across the country will allow our brightest minds to forge new advancements in improving our cyber security defenses. I am encouraged by the work Utica College is doing and pleased they received these important designations."

"These designations underscore what we already knew: Utica College has been a leader in the study of cybersecurity not only in New York state but throughout the nation," said Richard Hanna, U.S. Representative. "UC faculty and administrators have shown a commitment to excellence that allowed them to exceed the high bar set by these government agencies.  This designation places Utica College among the highest echelons of our nation's cybersecurity programs as it educates the next generation of experts who will fill in-demand jobs at places like at Rome Lab and across upstate New York's expanding high-tech industry."

"With these very significant designations, Utica College has become the leading higher education institution in New York State in the field of Information Assurance and Cyber Defense Education," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi of Utica.  "This will increase the opportunities graduates of these programs have for research and job opportunities.  Utica College has become a center of excellence in a field that has become increasingly important in recent years, since cyber-attacks represent a growing threat to our national defense system."

"I congratulate Utica College for achieving this prestigious designation. Students who are seeking rewarding, well-paying careers in cybersecurity are realizing they can get a great return on their investment by pursuing a degree at Utica College. It's thrilling that the National Security Agency now wants to partner with the school so that they can recruit the best and brightest for the protection of our country. With this curriculum and new designation, Utica College is helping us meet our statewide goal of giving more college students the skills they need to transition immediately into a career," said Senator Joseph A. Griffo.

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. said, "As we continue to work toward an economy steeped in new technology and innovation here in Oneida County the Utica College Cybersecurity program is a key component to our overall approach. Today, the recognition by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as well as the Department of Defense is another step in the process. This certification further clarifies what we here in Oneida County and at Utica College already knew: this is one of the premiere high learning institutions for cyber security in the country. Congratulations to President Hutton and all those here at the College who have made this certification a reality."

"This is another proud day for the City of Utica. I commend President Todd Hutton for making Utica College synonymous with cutting-edge cyber education," said Robert Palmieri, mayor of Utica. "To be the only academic institution in New York State with designations from the NSA, US Department of Homeland Security and US Department of Defense speaks volumes of how far Utica College has come in being a true leader in the cyber industry."

Utica College is one of only a handful of colleges to offer a master's program in specialized cybersecurity. The college recently added a third specialization option, cyber operations, to address the needs that are critical to intelligence, military, national defense, corporate and law enforcement organizations. Other specializations in the Utica College program include computer forensics and intelligence, and are offered online with residencies at the Utica campus.

Utica College was presented with a formal certificate from the NSA and Department of Homeland Security on June 16 during a dinner at the 18th Annual Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education in San Diego.

For more information about the cybersecurity and information assurance programs at Utica College, visit www.utica.edu/cyber, or visit www.utica.edu to find out more about the other programs offered by Utica College.

About Utica College – Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution offering bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The College, located in upstate central New York, approximately 90 miles west of Albany and 50 miles east of Syracuse, currently enrolls over 4,000 students in 36 undergraduate majors, 27 minors, 21 graduate, pre-professional and special programs.

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Video - http://youtu.be/QnPlwFWeJoQ
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Contact: Christine Leogrande, Director of Media Relations, (315) 223-2519 cleogrande@utica.edu

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